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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 01-29-2012, 06:35 AM   #1
K-Train
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Default no sauce

Anyone ever heard of or entered a no sauce contest? Cooked some ribs yesterday and left them dry and they were killer. Would be cool to do a contest with just meat and rubs.
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Unread 01-29-2012, 06:54 AM   #2
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I haven't heard of this before, but last year was just my first competition season. I will say that in one of the comps the team next to me was in the backyard division and they mentioned the weren't putting sauce on their ribs which of course made me think twice, but I tried some when they were done and they were quite awesome. The rub was great. And they got first in ribs in backyard. So I think it could definitely work, but might need to convert some folks .
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Unread 01-29-2012, 07:26 AM   #3
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fnbsh, I cooked against a guy last year in my first KCBS pro event that doesn't use sauce and was dead set against, real arrogant about it too. He came in almost dead last. I cooked some ribs yesterday our comp style to go along with the dry and the dry killed them. I'm just not brave enough to go no sauce in a regular event.
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Unread 01-29-2012, 08:50 AM   #4
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I tried turning in ribs last year without sauce...once...just once....

Not DAL, and they were pretty tasty...but I wont be doing that again.
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Unread 01-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #5
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Different sanctioning bodies, different regions, I think you'll find that there are plenty of competitions where sans sauce is perfectly acceptable and preferred by some judges. I do sauce ribs typically, but ever-so-lightly. That what seems to work for me. However, as a judge, the perfect set of ribs un-sauced are awesome. For that matter, 7 or so years ago in MIM you'd find less ribs sauced than not. That's changed over the years, now only 30%+- come across the table sans-sauce. Pork, I've never sauce my pork in comps and have done very well. Some sanctioning bodies allow sauce to be presented on the side, and I do for those judges who are just hell bent on sauce. Some comps even allow 2 sauces...
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Unread 01-29-2012, 09:57 AM   #6
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as a judge, i prefer light sauce or no sauce. it's about the meat. if i want to judge sauce, i'll judge sauce on friday night.
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Unread 01-29-2012, 10:06 AM   #7
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I haven't sauced my pork yet, but seeing that I haven't done well with it yet either, that is gonna change.
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Unread 01-29-2012, 12:03 PM   #8
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Our first comp we did no sauce because we were that team and were arrogant about how good it was without sauce...took dead last. I asked around and 100% of the teams I talked to sauced all of their meats. I know our BBQ was not up to par at that time but we learned our lesson and now we sauce and have honed our rubs and place in a respectable fashion. Though we compete in KS, MO, OK and AR so the sauce is kinda expected from talking with judges. Just my 2 cents...
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Unread 01-29-2012, 04:31 PM   #9
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I am a judge and this year I'm going to be competing for the first time, so last year at all the comps I would hassle any cook within 100 feet of me for advice and tips. I love unsauced ribs and asked everyone I talked to why they sauce, and probably 75% like unsauced ribs themselves, but you're cooking for the judges and after years of experience they understand that you have to sauce at comps.

I've toyed with the thought of going sauceless but decided against it and have been working on a smoke/rub/sauce combo.
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Unread 01-30-2012, 09:06 AM   #10
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I have done several contests where I have a turn in with ribs done with dry rub and drizzled sauce on right before turn in and have done ok. Of course you never know what the judges will like on that day....
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Unread 01-30-2012, 09:44 AM   #11
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Sauce (particularly on ribs) can add to the appearance score if put on well, can add to the tenderness score ever-so-slightly, and can enhance the flavor of the meat. However, if not matched well with the spices you use in your rub it can hurt the flavor of the meat. Or, too much sauce can take away from the flavor of the meat by dominating it. Not all judges will take off for this (even though they're supposed to because it's a meat contest not a sauce contest), but many/most do.

I think the perfect set of ribs un-sauced can compete well with the perfect sauced set of ribs. However, if your ribs aren't perfect, I do suggest placing a little of your sauce on it, if nothing else to help bring up those appearance and tenderness scores. Again though, some of this may be regional. I'm in a region where un-sauced is perfectly acceptable. I understand that out in the middle of the country that may not be the case.

Down/around here, from what I've seen win more often than not, the pulled pork un-sauced wins more often. However, like above, if the pork isn't perfect, a little sauce can help. This could be very regional though, like I said above. I'm in a region where chopped doesn't play very well. Frankly I can't think of a competition where it won; ever. Sliced is ok if mixed in well with pulled (again, that's here in this region and from what I've seen, averages being averages). Pulled is preferred. I've seen slices that were awesome but they had pulled or chopped and brought the overall box down. I've seen lots the other way too, great pulled but the sliced was tough, and brought the overall scores down.

Great pork wins. Only put the best (you have that day) in that box. The other, leave it on the table for samples.
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Unread 01-30-2012, 12:41 PM   #12
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Here in the Chicago area it was hard to not sauce up the ribs for a contest as most Chicagoans feel that par boiling and the more sauce the better makes the best rib. I have, for the most part stuck to my guns preparing ribs and not adding sauce. I guess it is a "game time" decision, based on what you/judges feel for that day!
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Unread 01-30-2012, 12:43 PM   #13
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I agree the sauce should compliment the entire process if you are going to add it, but it has to work with your smoke and rub spices from the get go! I prefer ribs seasoned with dry rub and using sauce sparingly to compliment, not to hide....
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Unread 01-30-2012, 02:26 PM   #14
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Sauce: Do you want to walk or just talk?
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Unread 01-30-2012, 04:22 PM   #15
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I like getting sauced at contest
Oh wait, were talking meat...Umm Im meaty. There i go again

I say a light coating over the top, not on the sides, keep the smoke ring visible
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